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Joel Levey
WisdomAtWork

5536 Woodlawn Ave. N.
Seattle, Washington 98103, USA

Seattle 206.632.3551 (voice)
Hawaii: 808.889.0056 (voice)
206.547.7895 (fax)


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What is an underlying question that gives form to your work or interest in this field?

How can we as individuals, communities, and a species increase our capacity for the higher orders of mindful self-reflection needed to awaken the depths of wisdom so profoundly necessary for nurturing the highest potentials in our lives and world?

What is your personal experience of collective wisdom in groups?

Some of many highlights in my life-work:

Participation in close to three years of silent, contemplative retreats, including a year-long retreat in 1988. Such retreats offer a glimpse of how profoundly interwoven our lives-minds are with those of all living beings and of how powerful and transformative our attentiveness and prayers can be.

In the late 70s I helped to develop and facilitate an ongoing research group seeking breakthroughs in creativity and innovation at Weyerhauser using a highly integral/holistic protocol of individual and shared visionary and intuitive research that was augmented by laboratory and field research to test and develop the product inspirations that came from our group research sessions. We utilized a similar approach with R&D leaders at Monsanto, and with the U.S. Army Special Forces, and to a lesser degree have applied similar approaches with teams in over 200 leading organizations around the globe over the past 30 years.

As Co-Director (with my wife Michelle) of Biocybernautic training for the US Army Special Forces (Green Berets) “Ultimate Warrior Training Program" (aka "Jedi Warrior") we did extensive training in meditation, cyberphysiology/biofeedback, and neurofeedback which included a month long silent meditation retreat and the development and use of a 16 channel EEG synchrony training system that we used to train up to 16 soldiers to synchronize their brainwaves~mindstates. This pioneering and at the time secret program was described by West Point logisticians as, "The most exquisite orchestration of human technology we have ever seen," and by Esquire editor George Leonard and Michael Murphy of Esalen Institute as, "The most extensive leadership development program to be offered in modern times." (See http://wisdomatwork.com/BUSINESS/inner/index.html for an overview)

In 1996 my beloved wife Michelle and I were chairpersons for the 28th annual invitational Council Grove Conference sponsored by the Menninger Foundation. The theme we chose for this conference was: The Power of Love and the Coherence of Shared Consciousness. This conference brought together leading researchers, artists, and wisdom holders from various modern and ancient traditions for a profoundly inspiring exploration of our collective wisdom regarding this theme.

Michelle and I had a rather extra-ordinary experience in shared/fused consciousness while we were each in spatially separate and electromagnetically shielded Faraday cages doing EEG neurofeedback training, that was “objectively” confirmed with the synchronization of our EEGs (brainwaves) for the duration of the experience.

With Michelle, I hosted a weekly meditation group for nearly 20 years as well as three year-long intensive contemplative inquiry groups. Each of these provided a rare opportunity to explore many of the dimensions and realities of shared wisdom and the self-reflective wisdom of groups of individuals.

What is it about the work in this field that excites you and connects you to your own deepest self?

What most excites me about this work is the faith that individually and collectively we have access to all the inspiration we need to fulfill our highest aspirations.

An image that comes to mind is that each of us is like a localized “island” that appears to be separate, but as we deepen our discovery of our true nature and highest potentials we awaken to dimensions of our selves that are profoundly interwoven in a non-local way with every other I-land—each of whom is rooted in, and arises out of the same underlying substrate of super-generative collective wisdom.

I have been deeply inspired in this work by Einstein’s quote: "A human being is part of the whole called by us the Universe. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest --a kind of optical delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures, and the whole of nature in its beauty.”

Also, a piece comes to mind that was published in the IONS Journal from a talk that Michelle and I offered at an IONS conference: “Our questions, conscious or unconscious, spoken or unspoken, individual or collective, are prayers, aspirations, and yearnings that infallibly organize our attention and, in the most subtle ways, make us more intuitively receptive to inspiration in whatever forms it may take. As our understanding of this process deepens, we discover that we live in a responsive universe. If you drop a little stone in the pool it sends out and draws back a little wave. If you drop a big stone in the pool, it sends out and draws back a big wave. The moment there is a yearning in our hearts or a question in our minds -- consciously or unconsciously -- there are echoes of information intuitively available to us. The answer or clues might be revealed in the patterns of a cloud, in a bird’s song, or by what a person three seats away is saying. As we learn to listen more deeply—individually and collectively--we discover that the answers to our question are always here, though generally speaking our circuits are usually too jammed to hear them. As Ramakrishna once said, ‘The winds of God's grace are always blowing, but you must raise your sail.’ The more of us that are able to raise our sails together, the more likely it is that we will be able to piece together a higher resolution sense of our collective wisdom.”(This is also in our book: Living in Balance).

Please provide a brief storyline or snapshot of what brought you to this work.

A whole series of experiences… see # 2 and #3 above.

I have devoted my life to the study of both modern and ancient wisdom traditions and inner technologies and have been bountifully blessed to live, work, and study with many of the most respected contemplative teachers and consciousness researchers of our times. Among those who have inspired me most deeply on my Journey: His Holiness the Dalai Lama; Kalu Rinpoche; Zong Rinpoche; Lama Yeshe; Chagdud Rinpoche; Brother David Steindl-Rast; Reb Schlomo Carlbach; Rina Sircar; William Tiller; Elmer Green; Duane Elgin; Gregory Bateson; Jean Houston; Ram Dass; Stephen Levine; Jack Kornfield; Larry Dossey; Bill Arnesen; Robert Hover; W. Grey Walters; and many others.

How would you like to be available to others in this field?

The greatest passion for me in this work is in working with teams of researchers or people aspiring to find breakthrough solutions to the huge challenges facing humanity during these transformational times. It is my/our experience that groups of individuals with a foundation of trust, skilled in the practices of generative dialogue, and well versed in the personal and shared methods for quieting and focusing their minds in order to intuitively access deeper levels of shared wisdom, are truly able to tap the reservoirs of inspiration needed to advance their cause.

My greatest contribution to this field is in teaching methods for individually and collectively increasing our capacity for mindful self-reflection, accessing deeper intuitive wisdom, individually and collectively, and in weaving that wisdom into forms that can be communicated, tested, embodied, and applied to creating better lives and world. My experience on this journey has grounded this work in three primary domains:

Rigorous laboratory research related to psychophysiology of consciousness, cyberphysiology, & neurofeedback training, etc.

Intensive study in both modern and ancient wisdom traditions and inner technologies with many of the most respected contemplative teachers and consciousness researchers of our times. Taking these teachings to heart, I have devoted more than two years of my life to intensive silent contemplative retreats where so many of the noble and noetic theories and principles could come alive in the core of my being.

Applications of these principles and practices related to collective wisdom within hundreds of organizations, R&D and project teams, and communities.

As an offering to our larger community of fellow explorers on the noetic frontier, Michelle & I steward the Sanctuary at Kohala Potala, a learning center at Malama Ka’aina Farms in North Kohala on the Big Island of Hawaii. A vital vision element for The Sanctuary is hosting gatherings of colleagues engaged in the deep reflection needed to source a deeper wisdom to guide our lives, work, communities, organizations, and world. (http://www.wisdomatwork.com/sanctuary).

Yes, I am happy to serve as a resource to fellow explorers in these boundless fields of inquiry and discovery. Our published works also offer a wealth of methods and insights that are helpful in this work. See: http://wisdomatwork.com or http://www.selfguided.com

Links to this site or others:

Wisdom at Work
The Sanctuary at Kohala Potala
Relaxation Guided Imagery for Stress Relief and Well-Being
Michelle Levey
Collective Wisdom and Intelligence at the Northwest Social Forum


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